How to prepare a phone for a holiday abroad

The long wait for the holiday of a lifetime you booked months ago is finally over. Sun, blue sky and sandy beaches are ready to greet you.

…But that probably won’t be enough to persuade you to part from your mobile phone. In our connected world, you’ll still want to stay in touch with friends and upload holiday photos to social networks. However, if you’re planning to bring your smartphone with you, it’s wise to be a little bit careful…

There have been horror stories of people accumulating huge phone bills due to roaming charges – even if they haven’t really used their smartphone! If you want to avoid coming back to an unpleasant returning present, then read on for our handy guide on how to prepare your phone for a holiday.

Consider what you need your phone for

Think carefully about how you’re going to use your phone on holiday. Are you planning to use social networks a lot? Do you need to make any important phone calls or texts while you’re abroad? If so, it’s probably worth giving your network provider a call, who’ll be able to advise you. Many offer overseas bundles and limits on call costs.

Calling your provider is also a good idea for finding out how much a call or text will cost you. You’ll also need to unlock your phone for roaming if you haven’t done this already.

Turn off your phone

The simplest way to prevent getting a huge phone bill abroad is to turn off your phone. This eliminates any possibility of a network provider charging you. However, consider whether it’s realistic you won’t want to use your mobile at any point.

Switch off data roaming!!

If you forget to switch off data roaming on your phone, you could get a massive bill just by having your mobile switched on. When roaming is activated, your mobile will conduct an automated search for networks – and you might start using data without realizing it! Even a small amount of use is likely to cost you more than at home.

It’s really easy to turn off data roaming. Simply go into your settings and then ‘Networks’, where you’ll be able to enable or disable roaming.

If you live in an EU member state and you’re travelling to another country in the Union, then there’s good news for you – hefty roaming charges will be abolished from June 15th 2017. Until then, though, turn off roaming if you don’t need to access the Internet on holiday!

Download before your holiday

If there are books, music and apps you want to use while on holiday, then make sure you download them before leaving your home country. If you download them abroad, then you could land yourself a massive bill if you’re not covered by a package.

Remember – it costs to receive calls

If you’re expecting to receive calls while on holiday, then it’s sensible to ask your provider about an international calling package, otherwise you will be charged.

Connect to your hotel’s Wi-Fi

If you want to use your phone on holiday, another option is to use your hotel’s Wi-Fi, if there’s one available. You might also be able to use ones in cafes and restaurants. However, remember to check the Wi-Fi you’re connecting to is the legitimate network, as fraudsters have been known to set up bogus ones, designed to capture your personal data. In general it is good practice to avoid connecting to free public Wi-Fi networks that aren’t secured by a password.